Slice of Cheese

FFA Congress Reforms: What does it all mean?

Today was a landmark day for Football in Australia with the reforms to democratise Football Federation Australia ’s governance structures passing at an extraordinary general meeting of the FFA. Two resolutions were voted on that will carry significant ramifications for the game in Australia moving forwards.

The first Resolution was to amend the Constitution of the FFA to give effect to recommendations made by the Congress Review Working Group. This resolution was passed following late amendments to the initial proposal. These changes satisfied the undecided Member Federations who released this joint statement flagging their intent on Sunday.  Whilst two Member Federations, reportedly Northern New South Wales and the Northern Territory, seemingly went back on that statement, the motion got the required 8 votes, and passed 8-2.

The second Resolution was to set up a process to consider and propose new League governance models for the A-League, W-League and National Youth Leagues. This resolution was passed unanimously 10-0.

But what does any of this mean in a tangible sense? And how does it impact the game in Tasmania?

The New Voting Structure

The result of the vote now means that FFA’s Congress will be expanded to give a greater voice in the game to different interest groups. Under the new system, member federations will receive 55 votes, the APFCA 28, the PFA 7 and a newly established Women’s Football Council 10. The reforms also include guidelines for the staged introduction of additional stakeholder groups in future years such as the AAFC, Futsal, Coaches etc. So Tasmania will lose some power as a result of these reforms, but given the wholly disproportionate 10% voting power the state previously yielded under the old model, this was always an inevitability.

A New Board and a New Chairman

The new Congress will convene next month and will elect new directors for FFA. Current FFA Chairman Steven Lowy, who along with the FFA Board vehemently opposed the proposed changes, has confirmed he will be stepping down from his role as a result of the vote, so the election of a new chairman will also have to take place.

The Nuclear Threat Is Gone

It also means the threat of a FIFA Suspension for Australia and the installation of a normalising committee is gone. Such a suspension could well have meant the Socceroos and Matildas would have been unable to play in the Asian Cup and Women’s 2019 World Cup.

The NLWG

The second resolution was to form a National Leagues Working Group. The NLWG will formulate and propose alternate governance models for the A-League, W-League and the Y-League. They will have until March 31, 2019 to hand down their recommendations for the Congress to vote on. It is highly likely any proposed model would involve independence from the FFA, as this is both common practice in major leagues around the world, and is something FIFA has expressed a desire to see.

Tasmania in the A-League?

Given that it has been FFA who have been the biggest obstacle to Tasmanian hopes of having a side in the A-League, a move to an independently run league has long been considered Tassies best hope of landing a side. The fact Tasmania didn’t even make the FFA expansion shortlist all but proved that whilst they are running the league, we won’t be part of it. Whilst Tasmania probably won’t be at the front of the queue for the first round of expansion, there is a belief that an independent competition would be both, more open to further expansions in coming years, and supportive of the Belteky/Stamoulis consortium backing the Tasmanian bid.

FFT Media and Communications Coordinator, Everton tragic, long form journalism devotee, Andrea Pirlo enthusiast and admirer of the parked bus.